Prime minister Shinzo Abe said yesterday that Japan’s past “heartfelt apologies” for the Second World War will remain unshakeable in the future, but stopped short of apologising again in a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the country’s surrender.
Mr Abe expressed “profound grief” for all who perished in the war and acknowledged that Japan inflicted “immeasurable damage and suffering” on innocent people.
“On the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, I bow my head deeply before the souls of all those who perished both at home and abroad. I express my feelings of profound grief and my eternal, sincere condolences,” he said.
While saying that the Japanese people must squarely face history, he noted that more than 80 per cent of the country’s population was born after the war.
“We must not let our children, grandchildren and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologise,” he said .
The statement was closely watched by Japan’s neighbours, especially South Korea and China. Resentment over atrocities by the Japanese Imperial Army still bedevils relations between Japan and the East Asian countries.